President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) approval rating has plummeted to its lowest level since the aftermath of Typhoon Morakot in 2009 amid recent controversies over US beef and avian flu, a recent poll showed.
Only 26.1 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with Ma’s performance, with 62.1 percent disapproving of the president, the survey conducted by Taiwan Brain Trust think tank on Wednesday and Thursday showed.
Those figures were the lowest since August 2009, when Ma’s approval ratings dropped to 16 percent after his handling of Morakot, the deadliest typhoon in Taiwan’s history, which killed hundreds of Taiwanese, the think tank said.
Photo: Wang Min-wei, Taipei Times
“The numbers signal a crisis for the Ma administration and, as you can see, the situation is getting worse,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said.
Responses to almost all the questions asked in the survey were unfavorable to Ma. More than half of respondents said they were unhappy with his performance over US beef imports, the H5N2 avian flu outbreak, rising commodity prices and tax reform.
On the recent US beef controversy, 54.8 percent of respondents questioned Ma’s integrity, because he pledged not to lift the ban on the growth additive ractopamine during the election campaign. A total of 67.7 percent disapproved of the government’s conditional lifting of the ban.
When asked about the alleged cover-up of an avian flu outbreak, 54.1 percent of respondents said they believed that government agencies had deliberately concealed information and 73.8 percent said the government’s handling of the outbreak was unacceptable.
These results suggest two problems in the Ma administration — lack of integrity and incompetence, Lin said.
Shih Cheng-feng (施正鋒), a professor at National Dong Hwa University, said Ma’s role in the recent controversies reflected a serious flaw in Taiwan’s Constitution.
At the beginning of his term in office, Ma was able to sit in the Presidential Office and do nothing, while claiming to be simply -fulfilling a role regulated by the Constitution, whereas he now “seems have his hands on everything” and is ignoring the Executive Yuan, Shih said.
According to the survey, Ma’a approval ratings never exceeded 40 percent after May 2009, one year after he took office.
Shih also highlighted the implications of answers to one of the survey questions, namely that 76.6 percent of respondents believed that public health was more important than relations with the US.
“It appears to me that people are more hostile to the US than they were and the Ma administration is going to have to work even harder to mend relations with Washington in the future,” he said.
Shih also said that former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), an experienced negotiator on trade issues who is familiar with international affairs, should have been playing a more prominent role for the DPP during the recent controversies over US beef and avian flu.
The survey, which collected 1,116 samples and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent, also found that 53.1 percent of respondents were not satisfied with the new Cabinet led by Premier Sean Chen (陳冲).
PALAU LAUNCHES: The source said that Taiwanese military personnel traveled to Palau, where a US brigade watched their work amid plans for a defense network The military last month participated in live-fire launches of MM-104F Patriot (PAC-3) missiles under US observation in an undisclosed location in Palau, a step forward in a US-led plan to create a joint defense missile system in the first island chain, a source said on condition of anonymity. The PAC-3 is the mainstay surface-to-air missile of the US, NATO and democratic nations in East Asia, the source said, adding that it has never been live-tested within Taiwan’s borders, the source said. The proximity of Taiwan to China and China’s close surveillance of the nation’s borders and nearby sea zones is a significant
DETERRENCE: The president on Thursday is to launch the first indigenous submarine, which is to enter sea trials next month before being delivered to the navy next year Taiwan hopes to deploy at least two new, domestically developed submarines by 2027, and possibly equip later models with missiles to bolster its deterrence against the Chinese navy and protect key supply lines, the head of the program said. Taiwan has made the Indigenous Submarine Program a key part of an ambitious project to modernize its armed forces as Beijing stages almost daily military exercises. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who initiated the program when she took office in 2016, is expected to launch the first of eight new submarines on Thursday under a plan that has drawn on expertise and technology from
FISHING FUROR: The latest spat was sparked by a floating barrier that was found across the entrance of Scarborough Shoal during a resupply mission to fishers Beijing yesterday warned Manila not to “stir up trouble” after the Philippine Coast Guard said it removed a floating barrier at a disputed reef that was allegedly deployed by China to block Filipino fishers from the area. Scarborough Shoal (Huangyan Island, 黃岩島) in the South China Sea has long been a source of tension between the nations. China seized the ring of reefs from the Philippines in 2012 and has since deployed patrol boats. The latest spat was sparked by a 300m floating barrier that was found across the entrance of the shoal last week during a routine Philippine government resupply mission
UP-AND-COMER: Taiwan’s youngest-ever Asian Games athlete, 11-year-old Lin Yi-fan, qualified for the final of the women’s park skateboarding event Taiwanese judoka Yang Yung-wei (楊勇緯) yesterday won Taiwan’s first gold medal at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, defeating South Korea’s Lee Ha-rim 1-0 in the men’s 60kg category. The gold medal was Taiwan’s 100th since it first participated in the Games in 1954. Yang is also the first Taiwanese to win a gold medal in men’s judo at the Games. After defeating Lee, a teary-eyed Yang hugged his coach, Liu Wen-deng (劉文等). “I finally did it,” the world No. 7 judoka shouted. Previously, Taiwan’s judo team had only collected four silvers in the Asian Games, all of which were won by women. Yang’s gold